I shall only mention another Occasion wherein he made use of the same Invention to cure a different kind of Men, who are the Pests of all polite Conversation, and murder Time as much as either of the two former, though they do it more innocently; I mean that dull Generation of Story-tellers. My Friend got together about half a dozen of his Acquaintance, who were infected with this strange Malady. The first Day one of them sitting down, entered upon the Siege of Namur, which lasted till four a-clock, their time of parting. The second Day a North-Britain took possession of the Discourse, which it was impossible to get out of his Hands so long as the Company staid together. The third Day was engrossed after the same manner by a Story of the same length. They at last began to reflect upon this barbarous way of treating one another, and by this means awakened out of that Lethargy with which each of them had been seized for several Years.
As you have somewhere declared, that extraordinary and uncommon Characters of Mankind are the Game which you delight in, and as I look upon you to be the greatest Sportsman, or, if you please, the Nimrod among this Species of Writers, I thought this Discovery would not be unacceptable to you.
[Footnote 1: George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, Drydens Zimri, and the author of the Rehearsal.]
[Footnote 2: [Sparrow-grass] and in first Reprint.]
* * * * *
372. Wednesday, May 7, 1712. Steele.
’Pudet haec opprobria nobis
[Et dici potuisse et non potuisse refelli.]’
May 6, 1712.
I am Sexton of the Parish of Covent-Garden, and complained to you some time ago, that as I was tolling in to Prayers at Eleven in the Morning, Crowds of People of Quality hastened to assemble at a Puppet-Show on the other Side of the Garden. I had at the same time a very great Disesteem for Mr. Powell and his little thoughtless Commonwealth, as if they had enticed the Gentry into those Wandrings: But let that be as it will, I now am convinced of the honest Intentions of the said Mr. Powell and Company; and send this to acquaint you, that he has given all the Profits which shall arise to-morrow Night by his Play to the use of the poor Charity-Children of this Parish. I have been informed, Sir, that in Holland all Persons who set up any Show, or act any Stage-Play, be the Actors either of Wood and Wire, or Flesh and Blood, are obliged to pay out of their Gain such a Proportion to the honest and